25 Nearest and Dearest 6/25
The Charming Family (Once Upon A Time)
There’s no tragedy or heartache on Once Upon A Time as horrific as the fact that Charming and Snow weren’t given the opportunity to watch their little girl grow. And every so often we’re clouded with the thoughts of what if. What could’ve happened if they had raised Emma as they planned? Would they be different today? Would she still have her walls up? Would she be happier as a princess? Would she still have had Henry? However, despite the unfortunate reality that she was never given the chance to experience a childhood in a loving environment, Emma’s relationship with her parents is one of the most fascinating relationships on television. The Charming Family consisting of Henry and baby Neal as well share incredibly uplifting and beautiful moments together showcasing that it’s never too late to give someone your all. And it’s most definitely never too late to be a family.
Our story begins way back when Emma befriended her mother without even knowing it was her mother. (Or at least without believing in the fact that she is Snow White.) And from the very start Snow’s relationship with Emma has been something we’ve adored to the moon. As friends, Snow and Emma looked out for one another — never understanding the truth depth of their connection the women found comfort in the other’s heart and loyalty. They effortlessly became family — the closest thing to family either of them had ever found someone they could trust to the end. Snow and Emma found someone who’d always have their back and best interest at heart. And this especially the case when Snow is accused of murder because despite the evidence, Emma never stopped fighting for her. When it was later revealed that they are in fact mother/daughter, their relationship got a bit trickier. Snow’s struggle was then her inability to communicate with Emma because she wanted so desperately to protect her as a mother, that for a while, it seemed as though they’d lost the friendship that was once fortified. And the unfortunate truth is that it’s all stemmed from Snow’s regrets and heartaches — she wanted to give her daughter a golden childhood. Snow’s love for Emma is perhaps one of the strongest forces in the world, and because of this love, Snow’s often been conflicted with how to behave. Does she continue being Emma’s best friend or does she act like a mother instead? However, while their journey as mother/daughter has been a winding road, today, Snow and Emma have grown to understand one another beautifully. Emma has seen just how fierce her mother’s soul truly is, and she’s seen it in how quickly she’s jumped to her defense. Though Emma’s never known what it’s like to be put first, with Snow she’s seen and felt that selflessness gorgeously. And although Emma has a baby brother, it doesn’t change the fact that her mother will always walk beside her. It doesn’t change the fact that she regrets not being able to watch her grow up every single day. And the two have finally found that wonderful balance in their relationship. Emma is now able to confide in her mother and though shyly, she’s able to giggle her way through awkward first date questions. Isn’t that what families do best? Lovingly embarrass us. Also, and on an interesting note, while Emma is a lot like David, she and Snow have an immense capacity to love and an inability to give up. A trait that was bared profoundly all throughout season five. Henceforth, it’s why Snow was so quick to understand Emma’s need to go after Killian — she too would’ve done the same because the two love so fiercely, there’s absolutely no giving up when it’s found. And we’ve loved watching Snow support Emma’s journey in love because from the very first season, she was the one who ceaselessly reminded Emma of the fact that love is a part of all happiness. No matter what happens, Snow will jump through anything to be with Emma and no matter where life leads them, mother and daughter will always have one another looking out for them.
David and Emma are perhaps the greatest father/daughter duo on TV right now. (Or let’s be real, ever.) And while it’s pretty rare to showcase such closeness between fathers and their daughters, Once Upon A Time has always done it beautifully. Who else can say their father fought off the Evil Queen’s guards while cradling them in his arms? David has often had a phenomenal way of handling situations regarding Emma’s well being — choosing to remind her of the fact that she needs to embrace the quiet moments in life or listen to her mother. And of course, David is always there to provide the good ol’ dad talks. As women, we tend to be our mother’s best friend, but there’s something different about our relationships with our fathers. While not many people are fortunate enough to have a father who’d give the world for them, those of us who are, know that there’s no comfort quite as serene as knowing there’s a man who’ll never betray us. Because no matter what happens, we know we’ll always be treated best by them. It took quite a bit of time for Emma to accept the fact that her newfound friends are actually the parents she’d always dreamt of, but once she came to terms with reality, it was easy to trust in David. As the season’s progressed, Emma and David grew closer allowing both of them to give each other strength in desperate times. As the best of partners in the world of crime, David and Emma have bonded wonderfully. When Killian was in the underworld, David stood fiercely by Emma’s side reminding her of the fact that they’d do anything in their power to save him. And when Snow left the underworld, Emma stood strong by her father’s side. At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that although Emma didn’t have a father growing up, she knows without a single doubt that David would do anything for her. And as painful as it is for him, he’s also stepped aside in order to let love be a part of Emma’s life. In David, Emma has a safe place — no matter what happens or who comes into her life, we’re at that point where her father’s presence means the world. It’s heartbreaking that there will essentially never come a day where the family doesn’t wonder what their life would’ve been like if they’d been given the chance to raise their daughter. It’ll always pain David that his daughter’s been through heartaches he couldn’t comfort her through. He was never given the opportunity to teach her how to dance for her first ball. And because they’ve missed out on so much, they make up for in little moments. Though those memories don’t exist, the ones they’ve created are impeccably special. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how old Emma is, because she’ll always be his little girl — the one he will always fight for and never give up on. It’s painful how often David questions whether he’s a great father or not, but in our book, any man who tirelessly fights for his daughter’s happiness is the best father. (On another note, last season we were given the opportunity to write about Charming’s breakdown which showcased just how profoundly he cares about his family and how intensely he breaks when he can’t be their armor. And if you’re interested, here’s the little piece on his partnership with Snow and the struggles he lived through as Emma was the Dark Swan.)
There weren’t many profound relationships in season one, but even if there were, it’d still be easy to love what Emma and Henry found in each other. And while Emma never understood how her parents could let her go through the portal, when she got older, she understood that in order to give a child his/her best chance, sometimes someone else needs to take care of them. From their very first Operation to their last, Emma and Henry will always be the greatest team. When no one knew or understood what Emma’s mission was, Henry believed in her with a fervency that could move mountains. A squeaky voiced kid forgave and adored his mother through everything — Henry understood that Emma didn’t give him up because she didn’t want him, but because she needed him to have a better life than the one she could provide. And for me personally, I’ve always loved how easy it was for them to bond over their past and shared missions. I’ve always loved how easy it was to adore one another — as every great mother, her child will always come first. Henry has the heart of the truest believer, and for Emma to succeed in her savior duties, she needed someone with Henry’s faith. And when Henry began to question himself, he needed to be reminded by Emma that his beliefs in life are what’ll take him far. Although Emma didn’t get to raise Henry, the year they spent in New York is something the two of them can always carry with them. Their memories may have been forged, but their experiences within that year weren’t, and though we weren’t given too many details about it, judging by what we’ve seen, we can be certain that mother and son bonded deeply. Emma wasn’t just there to play video games with him, she was there to help him with his homework, and she was there to console him when he’d fall. It’s incredibly important for a mother to know her child well enough to know of all the places they run to, and Emma not only knows of these places in Storybrooke, but in New York, too. And since he’s clearly the sweetest kid in the universe, Henry’s always been there to remind Emma of the fact that though she needs to bring back the happy endings, she deserves to live in them too. (Let’s recall the episode where he pushed her to ask Killian out. Or the fact that he literally made a wish for their family to be complete again.) Henry’s place in the Charming family is perhaps the most irreplaceable one — he’s their anchor; the truest believer who’s mere presence alone has ceaselessly evoked hope into all their hearts. We need more scenes between Henry and Emma. That is perhaps the biggest complaint we have against the series at this moment. Anytime the two of them have an operation they’re embarking on, we can be certain it will be a success.
The Charmings are too good, too kind, and too perfect, but they’re very real. And much like every family, they’ve had their fair share of arguments resulting in bouts of time without speaking. However, at the end of the day, they have always returned home to each other. Whether David is teaching Henry how to sword fight or Snow and Emma are taking a stroll with the baby, the Charmings find great comfort with one another. And for me personally, what I’ve always loved most is the fact that because they’ve each experienced loveless relationships, they are continuously doing everything in their power to make sure the members of their family know they’re ardently adored. Additionally, there’s a phenomenal dose of equality within the Charming household; no voice is left unheard and no skill is left unused. Each and every one of them have something they bring to the table — traits and skill sets that are not only treasured but always praised. To some, it’s too cheesy, but to me, their motto to never give up on each other has been a constant reason for my tears. (Just give me all the happy moments because I’m a sap. Please and thank you.) And that’s what family does — they never give up. They always find each other no matter how unknown or dangerous another member’s place may be. You want to kill off a member of the Charming family? Good luck because neither of them are letting that happen. You want to kidnap a kid and take him to Neverland? Good luck, the Charmings are coming for you. They’ve gone to Neverland for Henry, the Enchanted Forest for Emma, Camelot for Emma, and the Underworld with Emma for Killian. And come what may, even if they have to go to Narnia to save a member of their family, neither of them will ever hesitate. And this inability to give up on one another is precisely what makes them special — the optimistic, unwaveringly loyal family that continuously shines as a perfect example for the rest of the world. Baby Charming is clearly born into the best family and we’re loving how deeply he’s already adored. It’s too bad he can’t talk quite yet.